Cherished family portraits of the Queen and the late Princess Margaret from the late Queen Elizabeth’s private collection are to be revealed in public for the first time in an exhibition celebrating the work of the photographer Marcus Adams.
They comprise some of the most informal studio portraits ever taken of the princesses with their parents, which will be among more than 100 prints on display dating from 1926 to 1956.
One of the first photographs is of the three-year-old Princess Elizabeth cuddling her father, the then Duke of York, in 1929. Three years later, the future Queen posed with her younger sister shortly before Princess Margaret’s second birthday, and in 1940 the princesses, aged 14 and nine, were pictured with their mother, when Princess Elizabeth also posed in a skirt and tweed jacket.
Mr Adams, who died in 1959, set up a Children’s Studio in London in 1920 and shortly became one of the country’s most famous photographers of children.
He filled his studio with toys and even masked his camera as a toy cabinet to put his subjects at ease. His studio, which contained no visible cameras, lights or other equipment, was described by him as “a bright and very happy play room” and used a long cable to press the shutter so he did not have to wane behind the camera.
He once described taking photographs as “ninety-five per cent psychology and only five per cent mechanical”.